Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Internet Frustration

392 words

I have recently faced two simple tasks: (a) Get an estimate about how much we'll have to pay for the gas we need for heating and hot water per year in our new flat – based on the size of the flat and the number of people living there and (b) find out whether I can remove the top of our dishwasher so it fits neatly beneath our new work board in the kitchen.

Going to the respective companies' web sites seemed a good idea for this. They both have web sites and the problems are 'current'. The internet failed me on both.

For (a), of course they list what they charge for gas. They do this by kWh. Our meter displays cubic metres, though, and we have no good estimate about our usage. So that didn't help. Surely if you're selling gas you'll have quite a good idea about how much people use in which kinds of buildings with how many people. But this information isn't provided. Solution: Phone the company and ask them to adjust the estimate for us to that for other flats with the same number of people in the same house.

Same for (b), the dishwasher. It was bought a mere three years ago – so it's not a pre-internet age appliance. But that very model has been discontinued since. Bosch's website only lists glossy information on current models. Not very helpful for me. Solution: There was a customer care phone number on the manual. After a minute in the queue, the girl on the phone asked for our model number[*] and told me yes, it's possible – even supplying information on how to do it right away. Nice.

As I am quite happy to retrieve such information from the internet – and I am pretty sure many other people are as well these days, I wonder why the companies don't convert more of their documentation to PDF or something and make it public. That should even save them money in the long run.

[*] Interestingly, our dishwasher doesn't have it's model number written anywhere on it. I like the fact that it's not written on the front as that's nothing you need to see everyday. But noting it inside the lid or on the back might prove to be useful. Luckily we still had the bill that listed it.

April 6, 2004, 11:50

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